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A muscle strain is a painful injury or swelling that occurs when the ligament tissue connecting two bones gets broken. While a pulled muscle isn't a serious problem, it can certainly hamper day-to-day activities. When a muscle is strained or pulled, there's usually damage to the muscle fibers and tissues. If you think you have a muscle strain, it's very important to see your health care practitioner, physiotherapist or athletic trainer to determine the type of injury and its seriousness. Here are some effective ways to treat a muscle strain injury and feel better.

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Apply Ice

It's very important to appropriately treat the injury as soon as possible. Icing the muscle strain to soothe the pain, reduce swelling and inflammation is the best first aid you can get. Bleeding may occur in some cases because some muscles bleed when torn. Apply ice compressions frequently, just make sure not to overdo it — no more than 15 minutes every hour for serious injuries.

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Elevate the Pulled Muscle

Prop the area of injury above your heart level and stay that way for some time. You can use a pillow to elevate the pulled muscle or simply lay on the couch. This practice helps reduce the swelling and inflammation because it encourages the body to send fluids away from the area of injury. As with icing, it's important to elevate the strained muscle and apply compression as quickly as possible; however, elevating the muscle too long can cause stiffness. Keep elevating for at least a week after the injury.

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Rest

It's highly recommended to take some time to rest and stay away from the gym until the injured area recovers and let the muscle heal naturally. Depending on the severity of the pulled muscle, the resting period can last from two to five days to as much as several weeks or months. Once the pulled muscle fully recovers, you can get back to your usual routines at the gym. In the meantime, it's alright to engage in low-impact exercises to avoid losing muscle mobility.

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Stretch and Strengthen

Stretching and strengthening are two highly effective ways to treat and prevent muscle straining. When your muscles are well-trained and active through regular stretching and strengthening exercises, they're less likely to get injured. If you have a pulled muscle injury, do very gentle stretching and strengthening during the resting period to stay flexible.

Use Heat Therapy

To speed up the recovery process, you can wrap the muscle in a compression bandage, which you can buy from a local pharmacy. The band warms the affected area to prevent swelling and lessen muscle stiffness. You can also use a heating pad. Heating the pulled muscle allows you to do some light stretching exercises to get your mobility back. Gently massaging the injured area also provides heat and reduces tension.

Beat Muscle Fatigue

Muscles get fatigued from time to time, and when they do, they're more susceptible to injuries. This is something all athletes must take seriously. If you suffer from pulled muscles frequently, your muscles are probably weak and need strengthening. As you recover from a muscle strain injury, try re-engaging in gentle physical activities such as running and swimming to regain muscle strength. You can also play team sports but don't exceed your limit.

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Soak in Epsom Salt

Epsom salt is an effective remedy for treating pulled muscles, especially for easing pain and aches related to strained muscles. The prime component of Epsom salt is magnesium, which is a muscle relaxant that pulls excess fluid out of the tissues and lessens pain and inflammation. Simply mix a cup of Epsom salt in a half-filled bucket of water and soak the painful muscle in the solution for about an hour. Dry the affected area and provide warmth using a compression bandage. Repeat this every day until the area completely heals. Diabetics or heart patients should, however, not use Epsom salt remedies for healing a strained muscle.

Rub With Garlic

Speed up healing by counting on the anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties of garlic. Heat eight to ten cloves of garlic in sesame oil until it browns, and apply to the pulled muscle. Massage the area for some time and let it remain on the skin for four hours. Afterward, wash the area with warm water and repeat the procedure until the muscle heals. In addition, you may want to eat raw garlic cloves.

Drink Tart Cherry Juice

Tart cherries are known for providing immediate relief from pulled muscles because they're high in antioxidants. These cherries reduce inflammation markedly and heal the affected region effectively. People with pulled muscles should drink a glass of tart cherry juice daily until the muscle heals. This not only reduces inflammation and soreness but also increases muscle strength. You can buy tart cherries in fresh or frozen form; make sure you buy 100 percent tart cherry juice to avoid added sugars and sweeteners.

Soak in an Apple Cider Vinegar Bath

If the sore area appears inflamed, you can use apple cider vinegar to treat it. Apple cider vinegar is known for its alkaline and anti-inflammatory properties, which reduce inflammation and swelling. Add two cups of apple cider vinegar to a bathtub filled with hot water and soak in it for half an hour.

Disclaimer

This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.